Junction of the Hell Gate & Big Blackfoot Rivers

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Junction of the Hell Gate & Big Blackfoot Rivers

Bonner-West Riverside 59808,Missoula Area

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Categories:
Historical Markers/Interpretive SignHistoric SitesLewis and Clark Expedition
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General info

Location: West of Milltown

An important Indian road came east through the Hell Gate and turned up the Big Blackfoot. It followed that river almost to its source, then crossed the Continental Divide to the plains country. The Indians called the river the Cokalahishkit, meaning “the river of the road to the buffalo.”

Capt. Clark and Capt. Lewis, of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, divided forces near the present site of Missoula on their return trip from the coast. Capt. Lewis and his party followed this Indian road and passed near here July 4th, 1806.

Capt. John Mullan, U.S.A., locator and builder of the Mullan Military Road from Fort Benton to Fort Walla Walla, maintained a construction camp here during the winter of 1861-62 which he named Cantonment Wright. He was the first engineer to bridge the Blackfoot.

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